Professional News

UK Employees Facing Financial Hardship Due to COVID-19 Can Apply for Assistance

photo of statue of Bowman at the Wildcat Alumni Plaza. He is wearing a covid-19 mask.
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan.19, 2021) University of Kentucky employees who have experienced adverse financial effects due to the COVID-19 pandemic can still apply for assistance through the UK Employee COVID-19 Response Fund and the UK Staff Senate’s CRISIS Fund. 

The UK Employee COVID-19 Response Fund was established by UK in May specifically to provide financial support to individuals who are experiencing an unforeseen, temporary financial hardship caused by the pandemic. All funding awards are made from gifted funds; no state funds are used to provide awards.

To be eligible to receive assistance from the UK Employee COVID-19 Response Fund, an individual must:

  • Be a current employee (faculty and staff, including temporary/STEPS) or a retired university employee (as defined in UK Administrative Regulation 3:1) at the time of their application and fund distribution. The Advisory Committee may also consider other, unique situations or circumstances.
  • Be experiencing a financial hardship due to or connected with COVID-19.
  • Submit an application and supporting documents.

Hardships due to or connected with COVID-19 include: recovery from COVID-related illness; out-of-pocket, un-reimbursable medical expenses or co-pays; funeral expenses; caregiver responsibilities for a family member; threat of loss of essential utilities; threat of loss of household; or a major unexpected expense that is not covered by an active insurance policy. Expenses must have occurred on or after March 13, 2020.

Awards will depend on the availability of funds and are made by the Advisory Committee whose members review the applications. 

Awards cannot be used to reimburse the cost of nonessential, luxury or decorative items and services. An individual may receive one award per year. Awards will be made through a debit card or the university’s corporate partner Kroger.

Application Process for UK Employee COVID-19 Response Fund Assistance

  1. Employees requesting assistance must complete an assistance application. An online assistance application form is available here:
  2. Employees can also request a printed copy of the form by calling 859-257-8763 or emailing; printed forms can be mailed to: Human Resources, ATTN: Covid-19 Response, 115 Huguelet Drive, Lexington, KY 40506.
  3. Submit supporting documents (e.g., utility bill) along with your application; this will help the committee review each application and distribute associated funds quickly. If you need help completing the form, please contact or 859-257-8763.
  4. As quickly as possible, the Advisory Committee will review all eligible, completed applications and supporting documents, determine the availability of funds and the ability to meet the applicant’s need(s) prior to making a decision.
  5. If the application is approved, the Advisory Committee will notify the applicant in writing and provide instructions on next steps. The committee may request additional information before making a decision, which will place an applicant in a pending status. Applicants will have 30 calendar days to provide the requested information.
  6. All approved fund distributions will be provided directly to or on behalf of an applicant.
  7. Fund recipients are encouraged to consult with a tax adviser to determine whether the grant constitutes taxable income.

The Crisis Relief in Situations Involving Staff and Faculty (CRISIS) Program, which has been operated by the UK Staff Senate for several years, was expanded in 2020 to include COVID-19 related financial need as part of eligibility for the program’s assistance.

Other qualifying needs include:

  • Threat of essential utilities being turned off, such as electric, water or gas.
  • No pay status due to recovery from injury, illness or surgery.
  • No pay status due to caregiver responsibilities for a family member or sponsored dependent.
  • Loss of dwelling or household furnishings due to fire, act of nature or eviction notice.
  • A major unexpected expense.

CRISIS application process:

  1. Meet one of the above qualifying criteria.
  2. Fill out a CRISIS application.
  3. turn in the application and supporting documents to Tina Cornett at

Fund recipients are encouraged to consult with a tax adviser to determine whether the grant constitutes taxable income.

Cross referencing for applications made to both the Employee COVID-19 Response Fund and the CRISIS Fund will be conducted to avoid making duplicate awards.

Gifts can also be made to both of these funds. More information on making gifts to the funds can be found here.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.